Media Statement


June 19, Cape Town-The Department of Social Development kicked off its National Drug Awareness Week with a visit to the Foundation for Alcohol Related Research (FARR), in Bellville, Western Cape.


The visit sought to look into data-driven scientific approaches towards building a healthier society, free from the detrimental effects of alcohol abuse with a focus on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD).


FARR, a non-profit organization established in 1997, is dedicated to reducing birth defects caused by alcohol consumption during pregnancy and building a positive future for South African communities.


FARR, as one of the few organizations capable of diagnosing FASD, plays a crucial role in identifying primary disabilities present at birth and the secondary disabilities that develop due to their presence.


The visit to FARR shed light on the organization's range of support programmes and services available, including nationwide training with a particular focus on rural areas.


To date, FARR has reached 92,363 individuals through 3,335 initiatives across South Africa.


Ms. Siza Magangoe, the Chief Director Anti-Substance Abuse and Social Crime at the Department of Social Development emphasized the importance of collaboration with multiple stakeholders and said: “as government, we can come up with excellent policies and legislations but the implementation rests with NPOs and Stakeholders, there is not much that we can achieve on our own.”


The level of substance abuse such as alcohol and drugs are dire in the country.


Dr. Leanna Olivier, CEO of FARR, revealed startling statistics based on the organization's research study and said: “South Africa has the highest reported FASD prevalence in the world, at 31%.”

Dr. Olivier stressed the preventable nature of FASD, stating that: “any woman can have a baby with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder if she drinks alcohol while pregnant.”


In South Africa, many women find out about their pregnancy when they are already between 12 to 20 weeks pregnant, which means that they might be putting their babies at risk of FASD without knowing it.


The Department of Social Development initiated the National Anti-Drug Awareness Week to raise awareness on alcohol abuse and various substance abuse in the country.



This initiative is part of build-up awareness activities for the upcoming commemoration of the annual International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking on 26 June.


Aligned with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the International Agency Network for Demand Reduction, Drug Control, and Crime Prevention, this day aims to prioritize people's well-being and reduce stigma associated with drug abuse.



Ms. Magangoe also highlighted the need for reasonable measures and available resources to combat substance abuse through the development and coordination of interventions by various stakeholders.


The World Health Organization ranks South Africa among the top five countries in per capita alcohol consumption.


The outreach program across the country is part of the department’s efforts which seek to create safer and healthier communities through coordinated prevention efforts, treatment for substance disorders, and a reduction in the production and distribution of illicit drugs.


The outreach programme continues tomorrow, 20 June 2023 and members of the media are invited to join the department at:


Where: The Forensic Science Laboratory

Date: Tuesday, 20 June 2023

Venue: 270 Pretoria Road Silverton, Pretoria, Gauteng Province

Time:  10h00 – 13h00


Members of the media can RSVP by contacting Ms Nomfundo Xulu on 066 480  6845 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..




Media enquiries may be forwarded to Ms Lumka Oliphant on 083 484 8067 / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.